What is Strabismus?
Strabismus is a visual problem in which the eyes are not aligned properly and point in different directions. One eye may look straight ahead, while the other eye turns inward, outward, upward, or downward. The eye turn may be consistent, or it may come and go. Which eye is straight and which is misaligned may switch or alternate.
What causes Strabismus?
To line up and focus both eyes on a single target, all of the muscles in each eye must be balanced and working together. In order for the eyes to move together, the muscles in both eyes must be coordinated. The brain controls these muscles.
With normal vision, both eyes aim at the same spot. The brain then combines the two pictures into a single, three-dimensional image. This three-dimensional image gives us depth perception.
When one eye is out of alignment, two different pictures are sent to the brain. Adults who develop strabismus often have double vision because their brains have already learned to receive images from both eyes and cannot ignore the image from the turned eye.
How is Strabismus Treated?
Treatment usually involves surgery to correct the unbalanced eye muscles. The eyeball is never removed from the socket during any kind of surgery. The ophthalmologist makes a small incision in the tissue covering the eye to reach the eye muscles.The eye muscles are detached from the wall of the eye and repositioned during the surgery, depending on which direction the eye is turning. It may be necessary to perform surgery on one or both eyes and more than one surgery may be needed.